Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: BBSRC Taiwan-UK partnering award

This award is for current BBSRC research grant holders in receipt of BBSRC funding, to develop partnership links with laboratories in Taiwan.

If successful we will provide funding of up to £25,000 for up to two years to support collaborative activities including:

  • travel for one or more investigators in either direction
  • visits and access to facilities
  • scoping studies
  • workshops and networking
  • researcher exchanges.

This is a joint call with MOST.

Successful awards should aim to start from April 2021.

Who can apply

Applications must be made by a principal investigator who is currently in receipt of BBSRC research funding. In addition, the associated BBSRC grant must have started before the application deadline and must have at least six months remaining from the start of the award.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC responsive mode research grant
  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC themed research grant
  • recipient of a fellowship award from BBSRC
  • principal or co-investigators on a current BBSRC strategic lola or initiative grant with funding of over £1 million
  • principal or co-investigators on a current BBSRC institute strategic programme grant at a National Institute of Bioscience:
    • Babraham Institute
    • Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences
    • John Innes Centre
    • Roslin Institute
    • Rothamsted Research
    • The Earlham Institute
    • The Pirbright Institute
    • Quadrum Institute.

The following applicants are not eligible to apply:

  • a BBSRC studentship award, including:
    • CASE studentships
    • doctoral training partnerships
    • industrial CASE partnerships
  • BBSRC grants which are not research specific, including:
    • FLIP awards
    • follow on funding
  • BBSRC funding within an academic department.

Full details of eligibility criteria for BBSRC funding can be found in the BBSRC research grants guide.

Applicants should contact BBSRC for advice if they have any eligibility concerns on

We encourage joint applications by consortia of UK partners, which could include industrial and non-BBSRC-funded partners however, a BBSRC-funded applicant must lead the consortia and submit the proposal using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

What we're looking for

Awards can be used to fund the following collaborative activities in emerging areas of science relevant to BBSRC’s strategic priorities:

  • travel for one or more investigators in either direction
  • visits and access to facilities
  • scoping studies
  • workshops and networking
  • researcher exchanges
  • other collaborative activities.

Collaborative activities are not limited to the principal investigator and we encourage the involvement of early career researchers. Partnering award funds can also be used to support student exchanges, however, applications will not be accepted where this is the primary aim of the project.

It is acceptable for the proposed partnering award to outlast the associated research grant however the associated BBSRC grant must have started before the application deadline and must have at least six months remaining from the start of the award.

As partnering awards are based on currently-funded BBSRC research, they are not a vehicle for supporting single research projects and partnering awards cannot be used to fund:

  • salary costs
  • consumables
  • items of equipment
  • other research costs
  • conference attendance.*

*For convenience and cost efficiency BBSRC does allow award holders to arrange collaborative meetings alongside conferences at which their partners are already present. However the award funds cannot be used to pay for the additional conference accommodation and costs such as registration.

Please note that the funding should be seen as a pump-priming award and that research groups will be expected to access other sources of funding. This could include a monetary contribution from the applicant’s institution or department or an in-kind contribution such as venue hire or accommodation costs.

Highlight notices

International partnering award applications are particularly welcomed in the following highlight areas.

Global highlight: International partnerships fostering a One Health approach to diseases of zoonotic origin

Zoonotic diseases are capable of passing from animals to humans.

The US Centre for Disease Control estimates that six out of every 10 infectious diseases in people are zoonotic and three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.

As well as threatening human and animal health, zoonoses affect livestock production, causing economic and social harm globally.

In response to the threat, this highlight will support international partnerships with any country that develop research projects and capability taking a One Health approach for improving our resilience to zoonotic diseases, which have the potential to cause significant social or economic impact.

Applicants should explain the potential social or economic impact of their research in their case for support.

Applicants should also be aware of another related BBSRC funding opportunity.

Transformative Research Technologies for the Detection and Diagnosis of Plant and Animal Diseases

This tools and resources development fund, which closed on 8 October 2020, is for applicants intending on developing technologies that will lead to a step change in the ability of researchers to investigate UK plant and animal health problems caused by endemic or emerging pathogens or pests.

View this funding opportunity

Global highlight: International Year of Plant Health – Partnerships which foster collaboration to protect and enhance plant health.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH).

The UN describes IYPH as “a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.”

Pests, diseases and weeds are major contributors to inefficiencies in agricultural production and pose serious and continuing threats to global food and nutrition security.

Current control regimes face widespread resistance, environmental change is impacting on the spread of threats and some emerging and under researched pests and diseases lack effective control options.

In response to this threat, this highlight supports international partnerships that develop research and capability to protect and enhance plant health.

This highlight is a global highlight and is open to partnerships with any country. BBSRC particularly encourages applications under this highlight with the following countries:

  • Canada
  • China
  • Japan.

Applicants should also be aware of another related BBSRC funding opportunity.

Transformative Research Technologies for the Detection and Diagnosis of Plant and Animal Diseases

This tools and resources development fund, which closed on 8 October 2020, is for applicants intending on developing technologies that will lead to a step change in the ability of researchers to investigate UK plant and animal health problems caused by endemic or emerging pathogens or pests.

View this funding opportunity

How to apply

For all UK applicants, applications must be made through the research council’s Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

In addition to the Je-S proforma, the application should also include the following attachments:

Case for support

The case for support should be a maximum of three sides of A4 written in single spaced Arial, Helvetica or Verdana typeface font size 11 and margins must not be less than 2cm.

The case for support must contain the following sections:

  • the main scientific objectives
  • summary of previous contact or links with proposed partners
  • details of the work to be carried out
  • statement of added value: indicate the benefit of the proposed collaboration to UK science and in particular, the relevance to your current BBSRC funding.

Applications must demonstrate how this award will add value to BBSRC science (and in particular their associated BBSRC-funded research grant) and facilitate longer-term collaborations between the UK and the partnering country.

Work plan

A Gantt chart or diagrammatic action plan which outlines the activities and timelines for the work to be carried out must be included in the application (maximum one side of A4).

Cover letter

A short proposal letter must be included in the application.

Additional documents

CVs and publication lists are not required; however applicants may wish to include any particularly pertinent recent publications. A letter of support (maximum one side of A4) from, for example, the proposed collaborators may also be included but is not mandatory.

For a full list of information required for collaborative grants with industry and other users, please refer to section 2.9 to 2.18 of the BBSRC grants guide (PDF, 374KB).


Applications should be made at current costs in accordance with subsistence and travel regulations at the applicant’s institution.

For each main activity, indicative costs should be shown. BBSRC may index approve costs so awards made will include an allowance for inflation.

Any award made will be cash limited, and whilst funds should be used for the activities requested, the use of funds to allow activities that were not originally envisaged will be allowed as long as they are in pursuance of the overall objectives of the partnering award and within the guidelines.

No indirectly incurred costs can be applied for under the partnering awards scheme; consequently full economic costing is not applied to these awards. Applicants should therefore apply for 100% of the cost of the activities which they wish to undertake.

Applicants must follow travel advice set out by their institutions and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office before departure and should check travel guidance for countries of interest when preparing an application.

BBSRC will not cover the cost of any time spent in quarantine as a result of travelling on an international partnering award grant. To mange risks associated with travelling, applicants should make optimal use of remote working solutions.

Submission of UK applications

Read detailed guidance on how to complete the Je-S application process (PDF, 163KB).

The deadline for submission of applications through the Je-S system is 12 November 2020 16:00.

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

The UK and Taiwan partners are required to submit separate applications.

Within each proposed collaboration, the UK partners must submit an application to BBSRC, while the Taiwan partners must also submit an application to MOST. Applications which are submitted only to BBSRC or MOST will not be accepted.

Taiwan applicants should consult MOST for up to date details of their application procedure.

Taiwan applications made to MOST will be assessed to similar criteria as described in the standard BBSRC international partnering award guidance document. BBSRC and MOST will jointly agree on selected projects for award from these assessments.

UK applications are assessed internally by BBSRC. Internal assessment of these proposals allows partnering award applications to be processed swiftly and in proportion to the size of the awards.

An internal review process can be applied as the applications are based on awarded BBSRC grants which have undergone robust peer review.

All proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • benefits to BBSRC research:
    • the relevance of the award and benefit that this will bring to BBSRC-funded project(s)
    • the benefits brought back to the UK; for example, through access to new facilities or unique partnerships that would have been otherwise unavailable
    • the uniqueness of the opportunity to work with international partners in ways that would otherwise be unavailable
    • the level of contribution (either financial or in-kind) from the UK institution or the overseas partner in addition to amount sought from BBSRC.
  • partnership working:
    • opportunities for the exchange of scientists, with a balance of activities that are appropriate to the topic area
    • an explanation of why this particular collaboration has been chosen and how it adds value to BBSRC research
    • opportunities for early career researchers that will benefit their future career
    • a detailed breakdown of the project workflow (such as a Gantt chart).

Applicants should refer to BBSRC’s Delivery Plan for further information on BBSRC’s strategic priorities.

Contact details

Eligibility queries about this scheme should be addressed to:

Sana Afzal, Assistant International Relations Manager

Additional info

Supporting documents


BBSRC’s International Relations Unit (IRU) seeks to enhance BBSRC’s influence and involvement at the forefront of international science. This may be through accessing international funding opportunities in the interests of BBSRC’s scientific community, or by capitalising on international links, both at policy and scientific levels. IRU achieves this through international partnering awards and also a number of other mechanisms.

Partnerships with overseas scientists are producing benefits to the UK and the BBSRC community. It is therefore important that BBSRC continues to try to ensure that strong linkages are developed and sustained in the biosciences.

In 2000, BBSRC launched its first partnering awards call with Japan. Since then, BBSRC has expanded the scheme to include partnering awards for:

Since 2010, 251 international partnering awards have been funded, investing over £8 million.


The overarching aim of the international partnering award scheme is to provide resources to leading BBSRC supported research groups, which allow them to forge long-term relationships with international scientists in areas of research that are of direct relevance to BBSRC’s current scientific strategy. The partnering awards should provide benefit to BBSRC-funded research by establishing long-term partnerships that will lead to the development of new collaborative research programmes.

The purpose of the partnering awards is to provide pump-priming funds for building new links with overseas scientists which will add value to existing BBSRC-funded research grants.

Specific objectives that underpin the partnering awards scheme are:

  • to establish partnerships between UK and overseas research laboratories
  • to promote the exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists
  • to promote access to facilities
  • to tackle BBSRC’s strategic challenges as outlined in the BBSRC delivery plan:
    • bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food
    • bioscience for renewable resources and clean grown
    • bioscience for an integrated understanding of health
    • advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery.

Read the BBSRC delivery plan (PDF, 225MB)

Grant maintenance

All grant maintenance requests (for example, grant extension request, extension to start date, transfer of organisation) should be made via the grant maintenance facility in Je-S.

All requests for extensions must be made once the required duration is known and before the grant ends.

Read more about making a change to your project.

Reporting requirements

All grant holders must use researchfish® to record key findings and specific outputs from their grants. Grant holders can enter information into researchfish® at any time throughout the year and submit during the annual submission period.

For international partnering awards BBSRC expects the following sections in researchfish® to be completed as a minimum requirement:

  • key findings
  • collaborations and partnerships
  • secondments and placements
  • further funding
  • publications
  • narrative impact
  • animal use.

Read more about reporting your research outcomes.

Data sharing notice

BBSRC carries out the processing of personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

The information you provide will only be used by BBSRC and its partner, MOST, and used only for the purpose of carrying out reviewing and assessment for making a funding decision. The information you have provided will only be shared with MOST for this purpose.

By providing your information you are consenting to its use as detailed above.

Further relevant information is available in the:

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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